tv [untitled] March 31, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
had attacked them in the day without orders. they thought that was the attack. and they led down their guard just for a moment and that's when the americans arrived. it was very carefully managed. the americans synchronized their watches. that's the first instance i can find of an army synchronizing the pocket watches that the officers carried and then they attacked trenton from both sides within about two minutes of each other and won a great victory. then the the question was what to do with the victory. and he had a couple problems there. the hegss were not drunk. we have eyewitness accounts of their sobriety, but the american army discovered quite a lot of liquor in the ins of trenton and the american army got drunk. and washington had great difficulty getting his troops back again over the delaware
river, more so than he did getting them across the first time. and he also was carrying back with him 900 hegs crystals. and the question was what to do about them. the prisoners expected the worst. and to many people remembered what those hegss had done after fort washington, after other engagements around long island and washington could have gone with the lex tell yoen. he it could have been an eye for an eye. but what he did with members of the continental congress was to declare a policy of humanity. that the hegs captives would be entitled to some of their rights that the american revolution was all about. they would be entitled to the right to life. that was very different from the law of 18th century warfare.
they were treated decently to their surprise. and this news spread rapidly around the world. we had a man now in paris as the news reached europe, and it was benjamin franklin and he published essays on all of this and the idea of humanity began to spread. it wasn't universally observed in other parts of the revolution, but the continental army tried to do that all the way into the campaigns of the 1780s. after the battle when daniel morgan fought the group that was most hated in the revolution, tarl on to's raiders. he wrote a letter up the chain of command and said we treated them with humanity. we weren't even rude to them, he said. the americans made a point of that and what they were doing was leaking the conduct of the war to the values of the
revolution and washington himself became a symbol of that linkage. and that linkage began to haunt the opponents of this war. and one of the interesting things or the way it haunted george iii after george went mad, one of his delusions was that he himself had become george washington and we can see how this example of a humane and highly-successful leader spread with the idea of the cause. and then after that, it was decided in counsels of war that one victory was not enough. so they went back. and it was those committees of sergeants, the associate tors, who were the prime movers of that. and the american army went across the delaware fought series of battles, all of them very different one from another. one was a delaying action.
a very difficult retreat from the road down through lawrenceville, new jersey. and they did that with great success. the purpose of that was for the american army to occupy a hill above trenton on the the south side of the town. and there to draw the british troops into an attack which happened in a second battle of trenton. and the british were defeated in that battle. then washington who was then in a tight spot, a light came on and he and his counsel decided they would try another attack and washington led his troops around the british armies to attack a british brigade that was in princeton ten miles away and the result was a battle of princeton and again another victory. so washington had won four
victories in this very short period and they were very different one from another. and it was frederick the great saying this is the great eest military feat he had ever seen in the conduct of that campaign and that was only the beginning of that campaign. it went on in which all together the american army and the militia fought something like 80 engagements. they were very small, mostly foraging parties, but what they did was slowly wear down the british and the hegs troops who were in new jersey. it was a heavy blow on that force. then as the revolution went on, there were something like 24 ai two lieutenants who commanded in the same open way, that's green and lafayette, commanded in ten of them and they lost many battles,
but they won nine of those campaigns. nine campaigns. there were other -- all the other campaigns, maybe something like 13 or 14 depending on how one counts, were commanded by other officers who didn't master that same method of command and the americans lost all but two of those campaigns. theay this style of leadership began to pay off. and then afterwards, washington was called to another sort of service as president. what he did was to apply that same style of leadership to the presidency. his cabinet was very much like his counsels of war. he tried to bring in very able people. he was comfortable in his first administration with people of high ability working under him.
and he also picked people who were very diverse representing the diversity of the cultures in the country. and he could keep them -- he got hamilton and jefferson and john adams in the same room. and he kept them there for three, four, most of his first term. using that same style of open leadership. it was a very flexible style of leadership. they had a cause and a principle -- set of principles, but they didn't have an ideology, a word that was just starting to come to use. they didn't have foreign policies, with a few exceptions. but what they did was to serve the idea of this new republican government in ways that moved it forward, but they were very
flexible about the means. and washington would sometimes use the invisible hand of adam smith, and then he saw no con tr diction in turning to the visible hand of the use of government to actually run what he called laboratories. we call them factories, to manufacture the weapons that the republic needed to survive. and it was that sort of flexibility that, i think, was a key to what was going on here. he kept cultivating the art of silence and reserving his conduct with others. he was of the first generation to use the phrase public opinion, but he was not a democrat. he thought it was important he accepted the idea of the sovereignty of the people. he believed in the elections as fundamental to all of that. it never occurred to him he should choose his policies on
basis of their popularity. in that way, he was very different from what would come later. he thought it was important that he should show himself to the people and so he toured the country twice, a huge labor to go from maine to georgia as he did so that he could really represent to the american people what was happening. he had the capacity for growth and he grew on the subject of slavery, which is very interesting and another subject. and all of these things were going on at the same time. and then after washington, there was a period that ran through 1836. the presidents through andrew jackson all had one thing in they all had known george washington. every one of them. and they didn't copy him exactly. they were all different one from another, but they were inspired by that example of a
highly-principle leadership, of a leadership that thought it was important not only to do the right thing, but to do it in the right way that held to the idea of honesty in government and in politics. and that, i think, made a major difference in the course of the early republic. then there were other leaders who from time to time emerged who had the same success that washington had. not many of them. i think abraham lincoln would be one. i would say franklin roosevelt would be another. all of these men, one could say washington was a little to the right of center. franklin roosevelt said he was a little to the left of center. i think abraham lincoln was right down the middle. but all of them governed from the center. they really governed. and they tried to govern in ways that would engage a great diversity in their country.
lincoln was very different from washington in the sense that he was born into a democracy. he became a party man. washington hated parties. he believe d in a nation. washington's thinking was not precisely national, even as it became continental. he centered more on this great republic than on an idea of nationalism. but these men shared those same ways of having a set of values without an ideology, of having a large purpose without fixed and structured plans of the sort that became too rigid and constrain constrained, of working closely with the people but reserving their own leadership, and most of all, it was the capacity for growth. a new book on abraham lincoln describes the growth of lincoln through the years. the same could be written about washington. and then about franklin
roosevelt. he's commanding a global power, a completely different undertaking at least in many of its parts. and he also built that broad base of very able leaders. putting republicans into the major positions early in the war, secretary of war, secretary of the navy, working across party lines in that regard. also doing the other great -- combining the other strengths of leadership that washington had done, but in a different key, in another era, in a different framework. now the question is what next? we can see that people took inspiration from lincoln for that same period of about 60 years that had work ed for washington. and then there's a wonderful book by bill link ten burg on the shadow of fdr at least to ronald reagan. even reagan turning against the
new deal, but embracing that style of leadership on the explicit example of franklin roosevelt. and now what today? what for us? and we look at this country and find many great leaders in every field. we find great leaders in american universities. you are in the presence of one in david bore. and there are 3,000 american universities today and most of them are in the hands of very good leaders. we see good leaders in government. one of my privileges is to talk to the first classmen at west point, which i have done these last two years. and the leadership of these young men and of the general officers of the army are extraordinary today. we find that everywhere in this country, except recently on pennsylvania avenue.
and i wonder what the future holds for us. much of it, i think, it was said by thomas jefferson that his toughest job of his presidential office was appointing other people to office. and that's now our job. we have the job of appointing other people to that presidential office. and who will we choose? i'm a centrist, and i'm not happy about my choices, as i think many americans feel on both sides. and somehow as the arnold brothers said, we have to educate our masters. we have to find a way of reminding people of the leadership traditions that we have had in this country. and they have seen us through very hard times. times much harder than what we knew today. and i believe that we can do this yet again. thank you. [ applause ]
>> questions? >> we do have time for a question if anybody wants to step down to the microphone. anybody? they are being shy. i know they want to ask questions. >> the question is what about washington and slavery. it's a story of growth, i think. before the revolution, washington was comfortable in the role of slave holding and became one of the largest slave holders in virginia. made a success of it
economically. but then he began to think again, i think, during the war and as part of the war. and one thing that happened was there were these former slaves who were in his army. he was very unhappy to find them there. and issued an order saying they would be required to leave the army. the people of new england said basically, no way. they are part of our regiments. so washington set out another order. we'll enlist no more in the future. and the new englanders kept enlisting them. then he said, well, we'll have them in individual units, but we'll have no units that will be black units. then that was done as well in rhode island. and there was an entire unit of african-americans later in the war. and as he was doing that, also into the 1780s, he began to correspond. there's some extraordinary new
work that's just been push lished from scholars who have been reading of the books of washington's library, which are now kept in boston. and in them, they found that washington was buying and reading many of the anti-slavery traps of his time. they were pouring in from all over the world. and he was part of a kind of western movement that had a very particular quality. it was not only british, but also french. it tended to be centered on gradual emancipation. and he was moving in that direction. and then he decided that he would not free his slaves in his lifetime. others were doing that. it was spreading very rapidly in particularly in maryland, virginia, and especially in delaware. but he chose not to do that.
partly, it was complicated because these were not all his slaves. they belonged to his wife. there was some complication about that as well. but he did finally decide, as others did not, to end slavery at mount vernon on his death. what drove him there, i think it was probably that idea of these men engaged in a struggle for the cause. and it has been observed that that's happened again and again. adams trying to explain why women's suffrage was enacted. she said that the decisive factor was the support of women in this country for the american war effort in world war i, which won the respect of people who had devote on that question in the congress. i think it may have been something like that that was
working with george washington on the subject of slavery. >> thank you, professor fischer. ronald reagan was leaving this hotel after delivering a speech to the afcil. he's 15 feet from the president. the agents are surrounding him. he shoots. the first hits the press secretary in the head. he falls down. the second hits a police officer who turned around to check on the president's progress. he gets hit in the back and screams, i'm hit. the path to the president is clear. wide open. hinckley has an effective range. he's done target practice and can hit stationary targets. >> john hinckley fires six shots. this weekend on american artifacts, the race to save a president, sunday at 7:00 and
10:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv. this weekend on c-span 3. all weekend long, american history weekend long american history tv is in little rock, arkansas to explore its rich history. you're watching 48 hours of people and events telling the american story. . douglas macarthur was one of the most influential arguablrgu figures in our american history and actually filming in the birthplace here in little rock, arkansas, a little known fact for a lot of people. macarthur's father was in the u.s. military, captain macarthur, following his service in the civil war and actually came to little rock, arkansas, in 1959 and spent about 18 months here serving at the arsenal that existed on the site where our building is located.
he brought with him to little rock his wife and two sons. they've actually lived in this building they were in in one of the apartments that was contained in this structure, and then the following january 26th, 1880, douglas was born here and spent his first six months in this building. six months after this birth, his father was transferred outside of arkansas, and he only came back to arkansas one time in hix history and embrace this and proudly include him in the name of our museum. 1952 was very pivotal point in
macarthur's career. that brings us to this room we're seeing right now. in april of 19 51 after a lengthy military service that spanned three worldwide conflicts. world war i, world war ii and korea, macarthur was abruptly removed of command by president harry s. truman. i think it's important for us to consider that the korean conflict occurred just five ii. and that was a conflict that had spanned all over our globe. millions of people had died. lives had been uprooted and affected by it, and then here we were five years later getting into another conflict. for americans, in a country most people in america had no idea where it was, and the united nations forces were led by general macarthur, and he disagreed with the way that the war was conducted and made this
disagreements, with the president, public, and because of that, president truman decided that he needed to relieve him of command and bring him home. >> it was with the deepest personal regret that i found myself compelled to take this action. general macarthur is one of our greatest military commanders, but the cause of world peace is much more important than any individual. >> at the time, macarthur was held as a hero. he returned to this country after a very lengthy absence and was rallied, receives by parades on the west and east coast. he addressed a joint session of congress. >> mr. president, mr. speaker, and distinguished members of the congress, i stand on this ro
rossstro with a sense of humility and great pride. >> as i said, he was welcomed as a hero and truman was widely scorned. the issues examined since that time transcending into the korean war, the issue of civilian control, of the military, the issue of the containment of communism while we fighting in korea and for i think an overlooked issue, the issue of the conduct of a limited war versus the conduct of a total war. which i think really is the crux of what macarthur's dilemma was in fighting the korean conflict. >> if you look at the way wars have been fought from world war ii, prior to that time, the basic philosophy was simply this -- the politicians get us into a war. they send the military figures in to fight the war. the objective is to destroy your enemy, and then the politicians negotiate peace, and then you try to return to normal. and that's what happened in most
of the wars up through the end of world war ii, but the advent of nuclear weaponry totally changed the way warfare could be conducted, because if you went into a conflict with the goal of totally annihilating your enemy, with the use of nuclear bombs, you would not only destroy them, but you could also destroy yourselves and our entire population. so the idea, the way that wars had traditionally been fought was changing, was evolvinevolvi for someone like macarthur, who in 1950, he was 70 years old. and you have to understand that macarthur had been trained in the military tactics of west point back in the early 1900s. and the tactics he been trained on how to fight a war, worked in world war i, in world war ii, but with korea, he was having to work under constraints that went totally against the way he had been trained, yet the repeaties of having to conduct a limited
war dictated you could not totally go against, and throw everything you had, all your arsenal of weapons against your enemy. you have to correct macarthur for believing in his principles to the point he was willing to sacrifice his military career for those principles. he had been taught all of his life, from his father being a military man to his military service that you oh, boyed your commander in cheer. heave he was going publics with disagreements with his commanding chief. many say he did so because he felt his point was so right that he was willing to sacrifice his career, which he ultimately did. truman fired him. brought him home, and the war continued on until its conclusion a few years later. now, we, today, have the benefit of hindsight and there are people today who would argue that had macarthur been allowed to pursue the war as aggressively as he wished, to go
on in and invade china, that we would not be seeing the -- the geopolitical influences that are there today, between north and south korea. but you have to remember at the time that all this was occurring, five years after the end of world war ii, and was this country, was the world, ready to go into another potentially worldwide conflict over north and south korea? >> since i took the oath on the plain at west point and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but i still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day, which proclaimed most proudly that old soldier never
dies. they just fade away. and like the old soldier of that ballad, i now close my military career and just fade away. an old soldier who tried to do his duty as god gave him the light to see that duty. good-bye. [ applause ] all weekend long, american history tv is featuring little rock, arkansas. learn more about little rock and find out where c-span's local consent vehicles are going next online at c-span.org/localcontent. you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. this monday, watch american
history tv in primetime on c-span3. with a look at the 34th president, dwight david eisenhower. at 8:00 p.m., architect frank gary on his design for the eisenhower memorial. following that at 9:00 p.m. the prez's granddaughter susan eisenhower. at 10:30 p.m., an archival film produced by the u.s. army. i'm appearing here today as one spokesperson for the hundreds of thousands of marines, sailors, their families and loyal civilian employees who were unknowingly exposed to horrendous levels of toxins through their drinking water at camp lejeune, north carolina. >> the documentary semper fi, always faithful, chronicle the retired marine jerry ensminger and exposing toxic drinking water